Reports have indicated that the NHL will announce that they are cancelling all games through November 30th. The move brings the number of games lost to the lockout to a whopping 326, or, it has claimed 26.5% of the 2012-13 season (Aaron Portzline).
As with the two waves of cancellations we dealt with earlier, there's plenty of reasons to be pessimistic over this announcement and even one or two reasons to be a bit optimistic.
We'll start with the obligatory "It could have been worse" statement. While the NHL removing another month from the schedule is horrible and even sickening news, they could have easily removed a much larger chunk. As for now, the All-Star Game is still in play (Source). As for now, the Winter Classic is also still in play. As for now, a decent segment of the 2012-13 season is still a possibility as teams could probably expect to play in roughly 60 games if this is the last wave of cancellations (Source).
Still, let's not link too many "positives" to the fact the NHL is cancelling games – again. Sure, they could have canceled more games but that shouldn't take away from the fact the earliest we might (keyword might) see hockey is December as the two sides squabble like children.
Let's also not be overly optimistic about the new deadline the NHL is imposing by this third wave. We've already seen two deadlines pass and little come to fruition. It's quite apparent that neither side is any hurry to get a deal done. Time is of the essence to fans only.
As always, I'll end this article with the wish that this will be the last time I have to write about games being removed from the schedule. If there's a fourth wave, it will be a pretty significant one that should wipe out the All-Star Game and the Winter Classic, two of the NHL's prized jewels. Let's hope it doesn't get to that point.